October 15, 1979 12:00 PM

Bob Dylan

That crackly voice has had the power to send shivers up spines for almost 20 years. In this, his 25th album, Dylan shows more raw feeling than he has let slip in a long time. But the generation that grew up with the 38-year-old artist is in for a shock: Born Jewish and then reborn hip, he’s now been born again. “There’s a kingdom called heaven/ Place where there is no pain of birth/Well the Lord created it, Mister/Just about the same time he made the earth,” he sings, in Gonna Change My Way of Thinking. Dylan certainly has done so, but has also retained his sense of humor and regained the gritty, stripped-down style he had lately misplaced. Two members of Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler on guitar and Pick Withers on drums, make the sound hard-edged enough to counterpoint a sometimes gospel-like piano and backup chorus. Though Dylan has capped so many snippets from his old songs that the new ones are predictable, his voice is in fine form. Anything that can restore passion to his music should be appreciated, sermonizing or no.

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